Fraser Range Station.
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Fraser Range is half way between Norseman and Balladonia, 100km east of Norseman, heading towards South Australia. Described as being Western Nullarbor Plain, Fraser Range bears very little resemblance to the rest of the Nullarbor Plain.
The area is covered by dense hardwood eucalyptus forest composed of blackbutts, salmon gums and gimlets. The trees are substantial, some towering 20 to 30 metres tall with dense undergrowth making vehicle access off cleared tracks impenetrable.
A range of granite hills the highest of which is Mt Pleasant 579m rear up out of the forest gums presenting a spectacular monolithic feature. Along the range of hills that run south west to the north east, is Fraser Range Station.
Originally founded by John and Alexander Forrest on their expedition to Adelaide in 1870, the property Fraser Range Station was first settled by the Dempster brothers in 1872 making Fraser Range the first station to be founded on the Nullarbor Plain.
Fraser Range Station has no neighbours except for Southern Hills Station on the southern boundary. Southern Hills Station was originally a part of Fraser Range Station.
The largest hardwood forest in the world surrounds Fraser Range all of which is crown land.
The length of the station is punctuated by open grass flats surrounded by dense forest. It was upon these flats that shepherds moved sheep each week, over 110 years ago, from flat to flat to eventually end up back at the Fraser Range Homestead for annual shearing.
After shearing the wool was loaded onto a cart pulled by a 16 strong camel team, and taken to Pt Malcolm to be loaded onto the Dempsters ‘cutter’ and sailed to Adelaide to market. The ship also sailed a number of times to Perth for building supplies and stores. En route the cutter would stop at each island of the recherché to club seals for their pelts. These would be then sold on arrival in Perth.
At the time of settlement Perth was a penal colony and men with a ‘ticket of leave’ were employed to assist the Dempster brothers in developing the station and building a number of impressive structures out of stone.
Several of these dams and buildings still exist today, bearing testimony to the engineering skills and the building ability of these amazing pioneers.